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Table 3 Studies investigating the effect of curriculum focussed active breaks on academic and physical activity outcomes

From: Effect of classroom-based physical activity interventions on academic and physical activity outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Paper/
country
Study design Sample size Age Intervention Duration Delivery Physical activity measure Academic outcome measure Study quality Results
Vazou et al., 2012 [44]
Greece
Within-subject n = 147 Years 4 to 6 10 mins MPA active break incorporating language arts, math and social studies
Dose: unclear
2 weeks Senior primary education student teachers None Academic motivation: Intrinsic Motivation Inventory Moderate Academic motivation: Perceived academic competence increased in intervention compared with control. (F = 4.87, p < 0.05)
Goh et al., 2016 [57]
USA
Within-subject Students:
n = 210
Classes:
n = 9
Schools:
n = 1
Aged 8 to 12 years
Year 3 to 5
Take 10! = 10 min active breaks incorporating language arts, math, science, social studies and general health
Dose: determined by teacher
8 weeks Teacher None On-task behaviour: direct observation Moderate On-task behavior: significant increase in percent on-task behavior from pre-TAKE 10! (82.3 ± 4.5) to post TAKE 10! (89.5 ± 2.7)
Erwin et al., 2013 [41]
USA
Quasi-experimental Students:
n = 29
Schools:
n = 1
Classes:
n = 2
Mean age: 8.87 years
Year 3
20 + minutes active break incorporating math and reading
Dose: daily
20 weeks Teacher Intervention effects of PA on academic outcomes: Pedometer (Walk4Life, LS2500) Reading and Mathematics: curriculum based measures (CBM), teacher reported grades & standardised test scores (T-PRO, STAR and Discovery Education Assessment) Moderate Mathematics: higher scores in intervention compared with control group at time 3 (Mdiff = 10.87, p = 0.003), but not time 1 (Mdiff = 2.75, p = 0.39) or 2 (Mdiff = 2.16, p = 0.49)
Reading: higher scores in intervention group at time 1 (Mdiff = 79.46, p < 0.01), time 2 (Mdiff = 87.41, p < 0.01), time 3 (Mdiff = 92.46, p < 0.01)
Standardised test scores: Trend towards improvement
Bailey & DiPerna., 2015 [40]
USA
Multiple baseline design Students:
Mean of 16 Year 1 and 14 Year 2 students /classroom
Schools:
n = 1
Classes:
n = 6
Years 1 & 2 Energisers = approx. 10 to 20 min active break incorporating core curriculum
Dose: twice daily
5, 7 or 9 weeks Teacher School day PA: New-Lifestyles Accelerometer (NL-800): Intervention acceptability: student and teacher questionnaire Weak Intervention acceptability: Most teachers strongly agreed (11%) or agreed (89%) that Energisers did not adversely affect learning.
Most teachers strongly agreed (11%) or agreed (67%) that students were better able to pay attention following Energisers
76% of students reported being able to pay better attention in class following Energisers
Physical activity: intervention significantly increased school based steps (ES = 0.71 to 1.26)
Fedewa et al., 2015 [42]
USA
RCT Students:>
n = 460
Schools:
n = 4
Years 3 to 5 5 min active breaks incorporating core curriculum, totaling 20 mins PA per day
Dose: daily
1 year Teacher To explain variance in fluid intelligence and academic achievement scores:
pedometer (Walk4Life)
Fluid intelligence: Standard Progressive Matrices
Reading and Mathematics: Measures of Academic Progress
Weak Mathematics: improvement in intervention, compared with control group: t(33) = 2.17, p = 0.04
Reading: improvement in intervention, compared with control group t(32) = 1.69, p = 0.10
Fluid intelligence: no difference between groups t(36) = 0.23, p = 0.82
Grieco et al., 2009 [43]
USA
Within subject Students:
n = 97
Schools:
n = 1
Classes:
n = 9
Age 8 to 10 years Texas I-CAN = one 10–15 min MVPA active break incorporating math, language arts, science, social studies and health
Dose: one off lesson
1-day Teacher To compare PA among BMI groups:
pedometer (Omron HJ 105)
On-task behaviour: direct observation Weak On-task behaviour: slight increase after intervention lesson compared with control, although not significant (F 1,94 = 2.19,p > 0.10)
Mahar et al., 2006 [22]
USA
Cluster RCT with multiple baseline design Students:
n = 243
Schools:
n = 1
Classes:
n = 15
Kindergarten to Year 4 Energisers = approx. 10 mins active break incorporating core curriculum
Dose: daily
4 or 8 weeks Teacher School day PA:
Pedometer (Yamax SW-200)
On-task behaviour: direct observation (assessed in 2 Year 2, and 2 Year 4 classes) Weak On-task behaviour: Improvement in intervention, compared with control group (ES = 0.60). Greatest improvement in on-task behavior for students most off-task (ES = 2.20).
Physical activity: intervention group took more in school steps, compared with control group (ES = 0.49)
  1. Abbreviations:
  2. MVPA: moderate to vigorous physical activity intensity
  3. MPA: moderate physical activity intensity
  4. PA: physical activity
  5. RCT: randomised controlled trial